‘gibbs to leave as white house press secretary’

NYT: Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary and close confidante to President Obama, said Wednesday that he will step down and become an outside political adviser to the president and his re-election campaign.

Mr. Gibbs said that he intends to leave the podium in early February. His successor has not yet been decided, he said, but will likely be announced within the next two weeks.

The departure of Mr. Gibbs is the first in a series of moves inside the West Wing as the president prepares for a new phase of his administration. The internal shuffling also could bring a new White House chief of staff, a decision the president is expected to make by week’s end, with an announcement as early as next week.

….Mr. Gibbs will remain part of the president’s inner circle of political advisers, along with David Axelrod, a senior adviser and Jim Messina, a deputy chief of staff, who also are leaving the White House to focus on the president’s re-election effort.

Mr. Gibbs will defend Mr. Obama on television – and will expand his presence on Twitter and other Internet platforms – as well as beginning to define the field of 2012 Republican presidential candidates.

….Mr. Gibbs began working for Mr. Obama in April 2004, well before it was clear Mr. Obama would win his race that year for the United States Senate and long before it was known that he had a bright future in national Democratic politics. Mr. Gibbs has been at Mr. Obama’s side ever since, serving as far more of a political adviser than a traditional spokesman.

“This has been an extraordinary journey, an amazing privilege to serve the country and to serve this president. It’s an opportunity, quite frankly, of a lifetime,” Mr. Gibbs said. “But it’s important to take a step back and recharge, ahead of 2012, when we transition to the task of re-electing the president.”

NYT: President Obama said in a brief telephone interview on Wednesday that Mr. Gibbs would remain a close adviser and “will continue to shape the dialogue politically for many years to come.”

“We’ve been on this ride together since I won my Senate primary in 2004. He’s had a six-year stretch now where basically he’s been going 24/7 with relatively modest pay. I think it’s natural for someone like Robert to want to step back for a second to reflect, retool and that, as a consequence, brings about both challenges and opportunities for the White House.”

“Robert, on the podium, has been extraordinary. Off the podium, he has been one of my closet advisers. He is going to continue to have my ear for as long as I’m in this job.”

20 Responses to “‘gibbs to leave as white house press secretary’”

  1. 1 collegekay
    January 5, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Damn. Talk about a White House shakeup. Will be interesting to see who replaces him.

  2. 2 ari
    January 5, 2011 at 10:22 am

    oh no, don’t go Gibbs. Damn

  3. 3 Janelle
    January 5, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I think it’s a good move, because the President needs more outside voices speaking on his behalf going into 2012. I see it as the more advocates the President has on the outside going on TV, the better (versus former Clinton supporters who just want to jab at the President any chance they get). I was actually looking forward to this 2-year mark when the WH has a lot of transitions because our corporate-owned media only uses Carville, Rendell, etc….mainly Clinton people. There’s hardly anyone on the outside fighting on behalf of this President. Gibbs is also one of the few people that can hold his own when he does interviews over at Fox….he’s smiles a lot, but he’s no punk.

    • January 5, 2011 at 10:29 am

      Great point Janelle, Gibbs could actually prove much more valuable on the ‘outside’ – he (and Axelrod) are, obviously, also campaign masters, so it’ll be good that they’ll be freed up from day to day duties so they can plan ahead for 2012.

      • 5 Janelle
        January 5, 2011 at 11:01 am

        I’m also wanting Daley as Chief of Staff—mainly for presentation sake going into 2012. I know he comes from JP Morgan (urrrgh), but the President needs some on-air advocates that are credible and polished. He doesn’t have a huge pool of experienced candidates unless he goes back to the Carter Admin., and he needs good representation dealing with the MSM and the Rethugs. The President still has his own agenda and his own mind no matter what a COS may suggest or advise him on. Rahm couldn’t change the President’s mind on a lot of things either once he decided he wanted to do something. And I’m hoping that Pete Rouse will go back to being Deputy COS at least temporarily—he seems to really get things done, especially this past lame duck session.

        • 6 avpmom
          January 6, 2011 at 7:21 am

          My only concern Janelle is the Clinton connection~ I’m so leary of all the Clinton hangers on ~ They’re always so sleazy and never have much integrity or honor~
          I worry that their efforts center mostly on undermining and sabotaging President Obama and I seriously don’t fancy one more Clintonite who comes in with that twisted perception that they are somehow doing President Obama a favor and quickly begin to leak stuff to hostile media when they can’t get the President to do their bidding~

          I really don’t feel as comfortable with this Daley person frankly, and will have to trust that President Obama knows best and exactly what he is doing if he does pick him! (The enthusiastic endorsement of Daley by some people I’ve come to detest and distrust has made me even more uncomfortable with him as the pick for CoS!)

    • 7 Chi
      January 5, 2011 at 10:32 am

      Spot on Janelle…

  4. 8 gobrooklyn
    January 5, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Don’t worry Gibbs will still be working for Obama in some capacity. I’m excited to see who the new person will be.

  5. 13 dotster
    January 5, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I agree with Janelle, that this is probably a good thing. Gibbs is a good guy through and through, but everyone gets burned out with that intensive press job, and some new energy there will be beneficial. I also like Gibbs playing a bigger role from the outside, on the internet etc., as they seek to improve their messaging.

  6. 14 Ladyhawke
    January 5, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I think this is a good move.

    Staff changes are to be expected at the two year mark. Of course, the traditional media will call the various changes a “shakeup.” To me, it’s just a part of working in the federal government. The pressure of working in Washington, D.C. and being away from your family takes a real toll on your personal life.

    Also, in preparation for the 2012 elections it just makes sense that there would be a reswizzle of certain positions. Robert Gibbs will be a fierce defender of President Obama. I look forward to seeing him do his stuff on the tv machine. I can just imagine that getting from behind that press secretary podium will be very liberating for him.

  7. 15 Kelly
    January 5, 2011 at 10:51 am

    “Mr. Gibbs will defend Mr. Obama on television ”

    What an interesting sentence. Defend Mr. Obama? So this Mr. Obama they speak of, will always need defending in the eyes of corporate MSM. Very telling where American news mind set is. President Obama needs defending in the eyes of MSM, while the GOP gets cheering and hand holding from them.

    • 16 Theo67
      January 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm

      Yes, this gets on my nerves, too. I was watching MSNBC for the start of the new Congress today, and Chris Matthews was excitedly talking about Gibbs “defending” four years of President Obama’s activities in the White House. I will gladly “defend” the work that this President has done to serve the middle class and low income populations.

    • 17 Eleroy
      January 5, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      The “Mr” bit bugs the hell out of me!!! How is it that they can still address clinton and the 2 Bushes as president, but take delight in addressing President Obama as “mr” even lower than his more recent title of Senator!!!
      I do believe that this is done deliberately to diminish the President. But they fail to understand that this President is so self-assured, it’ll take so much more than petty, demeaning stabs to hurt his feelings!!! This is a man to adore and behold and a man for all seasons!!!

      President Obama ROCKS!!!

  8. 18 cat48
    January 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    “No, Gibbster! Don’t leave O” is what I thought when Chuck Toddler reported the news this a.m. Then a couple sentences later he said that Gibbs was moving across the street to be a consultant for O and I about spit out my coffee. I knew they wouldn’t leave each other as they appear extremely close like the prez and Ax are. I guess there is the phone, too. I like Gibbs when he gets tickled b/c he just lets it go.

  9. 20 Antoinette
    January 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I think Mr. Gibbs is and has been a great asset to this Administration, and I look forward to hearing his views.
    It is also very good to hear that he will be assisting in the 2012 Presidential election to Re-elect this dynamic President and his Administration.
    I don’t listen to the negative news in Washington on the political front, it defeats the idea to push forward for good positive change in our minds and mainly in our actions to make this country one for All the People! Good Job!

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